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Orecchiette with Spinach and Navy Beans

(Serves 4)
Orecchiette with Spinach and Navy Beans
Orecchiette is a type of pasta that resembles a small ear. The word for "ear" in Italian is orecchio,
so orecchiette translates to "little ears."  This recipe can also be made with broccoli rabe, also
known as rappini, when it is in season.  Simply omit the spinach and steam the broccoli rabe for
3-4 minutes before adding it to the dish.

1 pound orecchiette
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Pinch of red pepper flakes
12 ounces fresh spinach leaves, chopped
Salt and pepper
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 can navy beans, drained
2 tablespoons butter  (optional)
Parmesan cheese, grated
Grilled Italian sausage, sliced  (optional)


Cook the orecchiette in boiling water  for 1-2 minutes less than the
recommended cooking time. Drain but do not rinse.

While the pasta is cooking, saute garlic and red pepper flakes in oil in a
saute pan for 1-2 minutes.  Do not allow garlic to brown.  Add spinach, salt
and pepper.  Saute until spinach is wilted.  Add broth and simmer about 5
minutes. Add beans, butter (optional), and drained orecchiette to the broth
mixture.  If you are including sausage, add it at this time.  Stir to combine
and cook 1-2 more minutes.  Transfer to a serving dish.  Sprinkle with
Parmesan cheese.

TIP: If you under cook pasta by just a minute or two and then add it to your
sauce to finish the cooking time, the pasta will absorb some of the sauce and
be more flavorful.
Orecchiette with Spinach and Navy Beans
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